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Jury Selection in Girl X Trial

March 22, 2001

CHICAGO (AP) _ Jury selection began Thursday in the trial of the man police say attacked a 9-year-old girl in a public housing project four years ago and left her blind, crippled and brain damaged.

Scores of prospective jurors sat grim-faced as Circuit Judge Joseph Urso read the graphic and detailed allegations against Patrick Sykes, the man accused of attacking the child known as Girl X.

Sykes, 29, is accused of four counts of predatory criminal sexual assault, four counts of aggravated predatory criminal sexual assault, attempted first-degree murder and aggravated kidnapping.

Girl X was left unable to speak and in a wheelchair as a result of the Jan. 9, 1997, attack in a stairwell at the Cabrini-Green public housing project.

Now 13, she is expected to testify against Sykes at the trial.

She communicates by nodding her head and making eye movements to signal the spelling of words. Urso has approved the use of the girl’s speech therapist to clarify the answers and read them into the court record.

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